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What is a Fire Protection Class Rating?

What is a fire protection class rating?

If you are the market for a new home, especially if you are trying to choose between two different homes, the home’s fire protection rating may help you make your decision. Every home has a fire protection rating from 1 (best) to 10 (worst). This ranking is provided by ISO (insurance Services Office) and evaluates a county’s fire suppression capabilities – essentially how quickly they can put out a fire. Your home’s protection class rating is used by insurance companies to determine how likely it is for a fire to do severe damage to your home before help arrives.


What determines my Protection Class rating?

  • 50% comes from the quality of your local fire department, including staffing levels, training and proximity of the firehouse.
  • 40% comes from availability of water supply, including the prevalence of fire hydrants and how much water is available to put out fires.
  • 10% comes from the quality of the area’s emergency communications systems (911).
  • An extra 5.5% can come from community outreach, including fire prevention and safety courses.

Below you can see that most homes in the U.S. fall between classes 4-6, followed by class 9.


         Source: 2018 ISO Public Protection Classification Report


How does my protection class rating effect my insurance rate?

Fire and lightning claims are historically the most expense insurance losses for companies. The longer a home burns before the fire department or volunteer fire department is able to arrive, the more the insurance carrier will likely end up paying to repair or rebuild the property. For this reason, insurance companies charge more for homes with higher protection class ratings. An important step in buying a home is to pre-determine your annual cost of homeowners insurance. If you are debating between a home near a fire department or one that is miles from the nearest water supply source, the fire protection rating, and subsequent insurance cost, may help to make that decision for you!

Additionally, some carriers choose to only insure homes with a fire protection class rating of 1-8.  Fire ratings do change, so it is our job as your agent to monitor our community ratings and ensure that you are classified by your insurance company correctly.

If you have questions about your current rating, or if you would like us to check a protection class rating for a home you are considering purchasing, we are absolutely here to help!


Information in this article is sourced from the Insurance Risk Management Institute, Inc (IRMI) and ISO Public Protection Classification Report .